After a couple of drives around the neighborhood, the first system to raise its hand for attention was the cooling system. The radiator developed a healthy leak in its core.
Fortunately, cars like the Healey have radiators that can be recored. Recoring involves keeping the frame and top and bottom of the original radiator and inserting a new cooling grid (or core) in the middle. In the case of the Healey, we were able to install a modern, much more efficient core in the old radiator’s skeleton.
Big Healeys run hot, really hot. With this refreshed radiator, the Healey is able to maintain a reasonable temperature, even in stop and go traffic. This makes the car much more relaxing to drive as we don’t need to turn on the heater (which works really well) to supplement the cooling system.
While I had the radiator out, I replaced the lower radiator hose with a new old stock piece that came in a box of parts in the trunk. The upper hose looks to be in fine shape (it still has a parts inventory label stuck to it).
The Healey continues to be a fun car, it’s just so easy to work on. The radiator is easily removed and reinstalled, and the hoses are all readily accessible. Why don’t more people have cars like this?
Special thanks to Dan at Greenwood Radiator (he doesn’t have a website) in North Seattle for an excellent and timely job on the radiator. He doesn’t know I’m writing about this project and didn’t give me any discounts in exchange for this statement. He did give me good data on the options for repairs, both on price and cooling efficiency. I opted for the most capable core – the only potential downside to this option is that it doesn’t look 50 years old (originality isn’t a big concern of mine). I happened to call a British car specialist about potential fan upgrades and learned that Dan had consulted with this guy (Eller’s Healey) about my car, to be sure we were making a good decision. Need radiator work by a master? Go to Greenwood Radiator – good work and good service.
I apologize for the quality of these photos, they were taken with my iPhone in low light.
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